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The Gospel of Jesus Christ (2)

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If you were with us last week, you know that we began walking through a short Easter Series...
…focusing in on the gospel of Jesus Christ...
Last week we started with the first phase of the gospel....the Death of Christ.
And we were reminded of how the Jewish nation missed Christ as the Messiah...
because they couldn’t connect the dots of their past.
They were expecting a Messiah who would free them from Roman oppression...
…establish a physical kingdom on the earth...
And instead, Jesus, who claimed to be the Messiah....suffered and died.
And because HE DID....the Jews declared He couldn’t be the Messiah!
And the IRONY, as we saw last week, was that Jewish history is riddled with BLOOD SACRIFICE!
ALL throughout Jewish history you see BLOOD SACRIFICE…and not only that, BUT...
The theme of Jewish History is this: Blood Sacrifice Brought Blessing!
AND YET - when it came time for Christ to be “the LAMB of God”...
the perfect blood sacrifice…ONCE FOR ALL...
the Jews couldn’t accept it!
EVEN SO - we saw that the death of Christ is GOOD NEWS…for those who believe!
WHY?
Because BY FAITH in Him, HIS death becomes our death!
What kind of DEATH?
Romans 6:10 ESV
10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
Jesus Christ DIED to sin…how does that connect with us?
Romans 6:1–4 ESV
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
So through FAITH in Jesus - we are BAPTIZED (not water) INTO Christ...
we are placed INTO Jesus Christ…united with Him in His death...
A death to sin...
Through Faith in Christ, SIN no longer has power over us…MEANING the ultimate effect of SIN...
…will not have it’s way with us...
We know what Romans 6:23 says -
Romans 6:23 ESV
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And so last week we saw the GOOD NEWS of the Death of Christ...
This week we’ll look at the Good News of the Burial of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Christ is this - the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus...
And so this week, we’ll focus in on His Burial.
I think with the Burial of Christ being the MIDDLE-CHILD, if you will of the 3 phases of the Gospel...
I KNOW you’d agree that the burial of Christ gets - LITTLE TO NO consideration in Christian circles...
What do we talk about when we’re sharing the Gospel with people...
We say - HE DIED for your SINS...
He ROSE AGAIN!! - He’s alive!
And that’s GREAT! Amen to that!
BUT - why no mention of the Burial of Christ?
I think we treat the burial as NON-IMPORTANT information...
…maybe even FILLER...
I’m GUILTY as anyone!
But i think we can learn a lot from His burial!
SLIDE: The Burial of Christ: The Priority of Rome

The Burial of Jesus Christ

When you think back to how Pilate handled the crucifixion of Christ, you can hear in the text how torn he was in trying to handle the situation...
John 19:1–11 ESV
1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
You can hear the tension building up in Pilate...
He doesn’t want anything to do with this…!
He had tried to tell the Jews to take Jesus and do whatever they wanted with Him...
Pilate seems to definitely understand the weight of the situation!
John 19:6–8 ESV
6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.
*You ever come across a situation where you’re made aware of something…but because of the people involved…you’re like- NO WAY - I don’t want to get involved!”
This was Pilates reaction...
And it keeps building from here...
John 19:9–12 ESV
9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” 12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”
And so Pilate hands Jesus over to the Jews to be crucified!
But following the crucifixion, listen to how important it was for them to be careful with what they did with the body...
Matthew 27:62–66 ESV
62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” 65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
So what do we know from this exchange!??
We know that PEOPLE WERE LISTENING!
When Jesus spoke about His resurrection....people were listening!
They understood what He was saying!
And BECAUSE they understood, they decided to do what they could to MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE to - FAKE a RESURRECTION!
They set this up so that it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the followers of Jesus to FAKE a RESURRECTION!
The chief priests and the pharisees, and Pilate and some soldiers...
put all their energy into PREVENTING the followers of Jesus from:
stealing the body of Jesus
faking His resurrection
And so - THEY MEANT BUSINESS!
They KNEW what was at stake!
They couldn’t AFFORD for the body of Christ to be stolen, and a resurrection story to begin to spread!
And so from the ROMAN perspective…the Burial of Jesus Christ was - PRIORITY!
GET THIS RIGHT - Pilate would have been thinking!
GET THIS RIGHT - the chief priests and pharisees would have been thinking!
NOW...
SLIDE: The Burial of Jesus Christ: The Expectation of His Followers

The Burial of Jesus Christ

So on the one hand - we have the Roman Empire…the chief priests…and the pharisees...
…and ALL of their energy is focused on PREVENTING the body of Christ from being TAKEN!
And on the other hand, you had the followers of Christ...
What were their expectations following the crucifixion?
What were they thinking, following the death of Jesus?
QUESTION: Did they expect Jesus to rise from the dead??
John 19:40 ESV
40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
You’ll notice here that the body of Jesus was wrapped in linen cloths, WITH THE SPICES...
Why spices?
Because they ASSUMED that Christ’s body was going to DECAY...
So we see the friends of Christ…His followers....NOT PLOTTING to steal His body...
But what - ASSUMING His body would decay and return to the dust...
So they PROVIDED spices to help in the decaying process...
as was part of the Jewish Burial Custom....
They weren’t thinking about the resurrection at that time..
Now we might think that the apostles were completely confident that Christ would RISE from the dead...
But scripture tells us otherwise!
Mark 9:31–32 ESV
31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
They couldn’t grasp the IDEA that Jesus was going to DIE, and then RISE again to lIfe...
And JUST SO WE KNOW that nothing has changed....they didn’t ask Him to clarify (like us)
And so BECAUSE they didn’t understand the concept of Him RISING from the dead...
THEY NEVER assumed that He would.
We see this as well...
The guards come to capture Jesus and He says this...
Matthew 26:55–56 ESV
55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.
The disciples LEFT Him and fled.
Confident now? - NO
They fled!
They went into hiding...
Thinking that they would find themselves on their own crosses!
They went from fighting FOR Jesus....
TO denying them even knew Him...
Matthew 26:69–72 ESV
69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.”
And 1 more denial follows these...
Not only this, but it seems that His followers all watched the crucifixion from a distance...
Luke 23:49 ESV
49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
And so we get this picture that the Apostles had thought this ride was OVER...
Their world no doubt collapsing down all around them!
And so the Chief Priests made it their FOCUS to prevent the body of Christ from being stolen...
And the Apostles had NO expectation of the resurrection...
But what was God’s vantage point in all of this?
SLIDE: The Burial of Jesus Christ: The Perfect Plan of God

The Burial of Jesus Christ

A question that I had asked myself this past week - was why the mention of the BURIAL in the Gospel language...
When Paul describes the gospel, he defines it as the DEATH, BURIAL, and RESURRECTION....
Why mention the BURIAL? - because RARELY if ever do WE!
If you were going to study the Religion of Islam, you’d find that according to Islam..
Jesus didn’t die on the cross...
That He wasn’t crucified...
Well....see if He wasn’t crucified....well then what does THAT imply?
If He wasn’t crucified....then He also wasn’t - RESURRECTED!
If He never DIED....then He never ROSE AGAIN!
And so if we really think about it - the BURIAL is the LINCHPIN of the gospel...
What’s a linchpin…?
SLIDE: Linchpin
Linchpin: the pin inserted at the end of an axle to keep a wheel in place...
It’s the BURIAL of Jesus Christ that VERIFIES His death....WHICH then verifies…His resurrection!
Remember the story of Lazarus?
John 11:5–6 ESV
5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
John 11:14–15 ESV
14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
John 11:17 ESV
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.
Ok, so Jesus gets word that Lazarus is sick, and purposefully does not go to help him.
Jesus wanted to wait, so that by the time He arrived, Lazarus would have been in the tomb for 4 days!
WHY?
Because him being in the tomb fr 4 days - VALIDATED the magnitude of what Jesus ended up doing!
John 11:38–39 ESV
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.”
You see?
The Burial here Validated what came next!
John 11:43–44 ESV
43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Had Lazarus only been in a house somewhere, or only sick for 2 hours, the response from the crowds would have been - OH, he wasn’t really dead!
But with the Burial…being in the tomb for 4 days - NO ONE questioned whether he was dead!
The Burial validated the MIRACLE!
The same can be said of the Burial of Christ!
It’s the GOOD NEWS of the Burial of Jesus Christ!
He REALLY DIED!....for you
And so when we look at where we’ve been in this short series...
We’ve seen:
SLIDE:
The Good News of the Death of Christ
The Good News of the Burial of Christ
Next week, we’ll see that the expectations of all those involved so far....are turned upside down!
Rome and the Chief Priests expected all of this to go off without a hitch!
The Followers of Christ expected Christ to rot in the grave…!
And oh how they all were wrong!
Let’s Pray
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